Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Opening Ceremony for the High Level Segment of the COP 18

Yesterday, our contingent was entered into another drawing to attend the Opening Ceremony for the High Level Segment of the conference and luck was on our side! Our ticket was drawn which meant that one of us lucky ASD/SES delegates could attend as a representative of our group and I (Kyndall) was chosen to attend. Not only was I able to experience the Opening Ceremony in all its grandeur but this was also my first day at the conference.  After the taxing process of deciding who would go to the Ceremony, I took my ticket and charged into the conference room, completely unsure of what to expect. What I found there were hundreds of delegates from every NGO imaginable, representatives of pretty much every country and dozens of languages being spoken. There were people everywhere, gathered in the aisles, between desks and rows of chairs all talking about the conference proceedings and compromises so far.
                                         The hall where the Opening Ceremony took place. 

As the lights dimmed a movie began which highlighted the importance of individual action as well as the importance of mitigation and adaptation (two of the key ideas of the conference). One of the key debates taking place at COP 18 revolves around the international commitment to hold global temperature rise to <2°  and the movie made a very compelling analogy to the importance of lowering the global temperature; if we (humans) were to add 4° to our body temperatures, we would surely die, so why are we allowing our earth’s temperature to rise, because that is the path that we are on. If the global temperatures continue to rise then there will be no stopping global warming- therefore entire countries as well as each individual must act together, act as one to turn climate change around so that our future and our children’s futures will be viable.

                                                           One of the slogans for this conference

Each of the speakers, Cristiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the President of the COP 18, Vuk Jeremic, President of the UN General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon Secretary General of the UN, the Emir of Kuwait and the Emir of Qatar all spoke upon the importance of the delegates and leaders to work together to combat the force that is climate change. It is imperative that each of the countries present work with “perseverance, solidarity, and determination”, Christiana Figueres.

                                 Christiana Figueres speaking at the Opening Ceremony

Each of their speeches were wonderful, hinting at the global importance of this meeting.  Some of the most inspiring words they spoke were:

"Abandon apathy, embrace ambition." - Ban Ki-moon
" This conference represents an unfolding new phase of humanity." - Sheikh Hamad bin   Khalifa Al   Thani
"Climate change is at the heart of diplomacy." - Vuk Jeremic

                                    Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani making opening remarks
As a youth representative at this conference, I have been privileged to see, hear, and live new and exciting experiences. I was fortunate enough yesterday to not only attend the High Level Opening Ceremony but also to visit three different events where both Ban Ki-Moon and Christiana Figueres spoke. Honestly, I think that one of the most incredible things I witnessed was the compassion, drive and enthusiasm both of them have for combating climate change. They are incredibly busy and important people yet they each were present at the Momentum for Change presentation and awards ceremony as well as the Sustainable Solutions for Climate Action: Food Security in Dry Lands under a Changing Climate side event. I have been inspired by their hard work and dedication to the overwhelming challenge that is climate change and I can only hope that their enthusiasm and desire to reach an accord will be passed on to the policy makers here this week.

            Right now, I’m planning on taking this experience one day at a time and pull as much out of it as I can. Although I did not hear this at the Opening Ceremony, I think that it’s the perfect way to end this post.

            "We have to work on a basis of optimism" - Ban Ki-moon

It’s the only way that as a global society we can combat climate change,

                                           Ban Ki-moon 


1 comment:

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